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Nintendo Wii U announced, coming in 2012 (updated with pictures, video, and specs)

Nintendo Wii U announced, coming in 2012 (updated with pictures, video, and specs)

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The device previously known as Project Cafe -- the successor to the Wii teased by Nintendo in April -- is now official today at E3 in Los Angeles. The name? "Wii U," which Nintendo says underscores the fact that the gaming experience is all about you. As expected, a 6.2-inch integrated touchscreen display (bundled with a stylus) is a big part of the product, acting as an augmented display that can be used with games in a variety of ways -- as a rifle scope, for instance, or even as a golf tee if you set it on the floor -- and it's wirelessly paired to a small box attached to your television. It's backwards compatible with the Wii and Wii accessories, interestingly, and you've got an integrated mic, gyroscope, camera, and a full range of traditional gaming controls. Nintendo's also promising some type of cross-platform compatibility for certain games with the 3DS, though they're not going into details just yet. Fortunately, the new machine will output HD, so it's a step up from the Wii's capabilities -- and judging from the videos and stills we've seen of the system's graphics output so far, it's a big step up.

Speaking of the camera, the Wii U will also support some sort of video conferencing. Don't mistake the big controller for a portable gaming device, though -- they've got the 3DS for that -- instead, processing always occurs in the main box (even if you're not actually using the TV) and the graphics get pushed back to the controller wirelessly, allegedly with practically zero latency.

Don't expect it this year -- as Nintendo had previously hinted, we're looking at a 2012 launch. Follow the break for a full gallery, video, and specs!

Here are the full specs we've got:

  • 1.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide, 10.5 inches long
  • Single-touch display
  • The new controller incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 touch screen and traditional button controls, including two analog Circle Pads. This combination removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus
  • Up to four Wii Remote (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers can be connected at once. The new console supports all Wii controllers and input devices, including the Nunchuk controller, Classic Controller, Classic Controller Pro and Wii Balance Board
  • A single self-loading media bay will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs for the new console, as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs
  • Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite
  • Uses AV Multi Out connector. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI
  • The console will have internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive
  • IBM Power®-based multi-core microprocessor
  • Four USB 2.0 connector slots are included. The new console is backward compatible with Wii games and Wii accessories
Nintendo Wii U pictures